The i2i Center for Integrative Health has a new initiative to promote community inclusion for people with mental illness called, I’m IN: Community Inclusion.
The goal of I’m IN is to put into place more policies, programs, and practices that support individuals with mental illnesses so that they may participate more fully in the activities that define everyday community life. The initiative will address the harsh reality that many people with serious mental illness are unemployed and may have fragile connections to the mainstream of community life.
Much of the content and structure of I’m IN will be adapted from a toolkit created by the Temple University Collaborative called, Jump-Starting Community Living and Participation. This nationally-recognized toolkit provides practical guidance and structure for individuals and groups that are motivated to make a significant difference in including people with mental illness within their communities.
I’m IN will convene individuals with mental illness and representatives of existing mental health advocacy groups, community collaboratives, local managed care organizations, the Practice Improvement Collaborative, behavioral health providers, state agency representatives and others in order to promote the goal of inclusion of people with mental illness in their communities.
In 2018, I’m IN got off to a very good start, convening a large number of diverse community stakeholders to being to promote the inclusion of people with mental illness in their communities, including: individuals with mental illness and representatives of mental health advocacy groups, peer-run service providers, community collaboratives, local managed care organizations, the NC Council of Churches, behavioral health providers, state agency representatives and others. An advisory group was formed to guide the initiative and on December 4, approximately 100 people attended the free and open I’m IN: Community Inclusion launch meeting in Pinehurst, NC.
The I’m IN: Community Inclusion has four new Pilot Partners to extend the impact of community inclusion. Each of the four Pilot Partners is implementing an innovation within their local community that promotes inclusion of adults with mental illness. The four sites are:
Johnston County – the project will work in partnership with Alliance Health to 1) launch a media campaign and will conduct educational training about community inclusion and 2) form a Community Inclusion Collaborative that will enable community members to discuss successes and barriers to inclusion.
Share Hope – the project, based in Raleigh, will assemble a community-wide “Meet Your Neighbor” event to connect people with mental illness to churches, food pantries, clothing ministries, park and recreation, local libraries, local CFAC, recovery programs, mental health agencies, and other relevant resources. People with lived experience will help organize and implement the event.
GreenTree Peer Center, based in Winston-Salem will 1) use inclusion-principles as the basis for peer-facilitated one-on-one discussions that focus on personal goals and dreams for individuals with mental illness and 2) collaborate with Winston-Salem State University to launch, PhotoVoice, a project to support self-expression among people with mental illness through photography.
PEACE, based in Forest City, will collaborate with Partners MCO to organize and convene a series of day-long events to support community inclusion through educational and physical activities that are relevant and valuable to people with mental illness. The events will focus on building relationship and networks of support for people with mental illness.
I’m IN provides training to support local Pilot Partners using a toolkit created by the Temple University Collaborative called, Jump-Starting Community Living and Participation. http://www.tucollaborative.org/sdm_downloads/well-together/ This nationally-recognized toolkit provides practical guidance and structure for individuals and groups that are motivated to make a significant difference in including people with mental illness within their communities.
For more information on I’m IN, becoming a Pilot Partner or to volunteer to help please contact Michael Owen at Michael@i2icenter.org